ARThrive: Healthy Relationship Series

ARThrive is back! This semester the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office, Fraser International College, and the SFSS Women's Centre have a selection of series focusing on Healthy Relationships with others.

Through simple and creative guided workshops, each ARThrive session will explore different topics related to the main theme, while creating art together in a safe(r) online space. ARThrive is a partnership between SFU’s Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office and the SFSS Women’s Centre. This term we are excited to have new partners, Fraser International College (FIC), and the Vines Festival. Vines is an arts organization and festival that is responsive to and nurturing of artists that are working toward land, water, and relational justice.  

We have also worked in partnership with the SFU’s Indigenous Student Centre to support some past sessions.

Sessions are open to all students of all genders.

Upcoming sessions

More information is coming soon

Past Sessions

Visual Recipe Book

Throughout our lifetime we can learn so much about ourselves when we engage in relational experiences with others.  Through conflict, discussions, actions, self-reflection and awareness, we discover our strengths, limitations, “love languages”, communication styles, coping skills, and values.  Join us to create your own personal RECIPE BOOK using collage to reflect on what ingredients are necessary in health relationships.  How might you express your needs to others in your life whether they be friends, family, peers at work/school and intimate or romantic partners.  You can give your book a name and your personal recipes can be expanded upon, shared and revisited as needed!

This safer space of creativity will be facilitated by Nadina Dodd and Paola Quiros. Nadina is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Art Therapist working as a Case Manager and leading the Wellness Office at Fraser International College which is a partner of SFU.  She provides counselling and case management support exclusively to international students and loves using creative and expressive means of self-exploration, growth and discovery. She strives to work in a strengths-based, relational and culturally responsive way with her student-clients.

Paola is the Educator of the Sexual Violence Support and Prevention office, and the co-creator of ARThrive, an initiative that born at the SFSS Women's Centre. She provides educational workshops to SFU and FIC undergrad students on Sexual Violence Prevention, and strives to create conversations on boundaries, healthy relationships, and consent.

Spirit of the Village: Relating to Your Community (a collaboration with Vines Festival)

Imagine being in a place where there is no time, only rhythm…This is where your Soul lives and this is where you cultivate authentic relationships with others. If you were to ask an elder in a traditional village somewhere in Africa “what is community and how do we create it?”, they would not know how to answer. In fact, they would tell you that they don’t know! That is because Africans do not have a theoretical concept of community, they LIVE as a community. That is especially true in villages.

In this ARThrive session you will be encouraged to consider a NEW experience of community and a NEW way to relate to yourself and to others. You will practice how it feels to be a member of our ArtThrive village, through rhythm. Rhythm is how we learn about life in traditional African villages, from a young age. We FEEL life!And we develop a relationship to each other through rhythm because our ancestors have taught us that life is all about vibration and frequency. In this workshop, beyond art, we will create a relationship to one another, at the Soul level.

This safer space for belonging and authentic care is facilitated by Jacky A. Yenga. Originally from Cameroon, Central Africa, Jacky grew up in Yaoundé and Paris and now lives in Vancouver, BC.  Her foundation for life was rooted in togetherness and collaboration, respect for the elders, for nature and the ancestors. Living a connected life and expressing joy through dancing and singing as a way of life was her daily reality, until the age of 9.  She experienced the trauma of disconnection when she was sent to the West to “live a better life”. Now she is a Best Selling Author, an inspiring Speaker and an enthusiastic Ambassador for the Wisdom of Africa and their message of Togetherness, which she shares around the world in various forms, including as a singer, music and dance performer.

Listen to Connect

Through various creative mediums such as recordings, images and text together with reading prompts we will explore the meaning of active listening, and the crucial importance for building healthy relationships with others. What does active listening mean? Are there any steps to learn how to meaningfully and mindfully listen to other people's needs? What are we thinking when we are not listening? How can we hold space and offer and receive empathy? We will answer these and other questions by engaging in insightful activities. At the end of the workshop each participant will have a piece that will symbolize the vital relevance of active listening.

The session was facilitated by Nadina Dodd, Registered Clinical Counsellor and Art Therapist working as a Case Manager and leading the Wellness Office at Fraser International College, and Paola Quiros, Educator of the Sexual Violence Support and Prevention office, and the co-creator of ARThrive, an initiative that born at the SFSS Women's Centre. 

Rediscover Your Rhythm and Reconnection to Self

This Expressive Arts therapy workshop will explore themes of self-soothing, ways we can re-parent ourselves by supporting and listening to the parts of us that could use a little extra nurturing and care. We will use various art forms (painting/drawing, writing and movement) to be with our bodies. Join us in space (virtually) to delve into your internal world using expressive arts as well as connect with other folks working though their own feelings and struggles at this time.

This safer spaces is going to be facilitated by Jotika Chaudhary Samant. She is a Queer, Femme of colour,  Expressive Arts Therapist (EXAT), Community Organizer and an Interdisciplinary Artist. Jotika has been facilitating and co-creating arts based workshops and spaces for Queer, Trans and Black, Indigenous, People of Colour over the last 8 years. For the past 14 years, she has volunteered and worked in social services agencies, supporting survivors of violence, folks who are homeless and under housed as well as multi barriered youth. As an Expressive Arts Therapist Jotika works from frameworks that are anti oppressive and trauma informed. She is passionate about working with Queer, Trans, and Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTBIPoC) using expressive arts to support folks to connect with the arts, into their imaginations and back into their bodies.

Comfort Box

With recyclable and upcycle materials, workshop participants will create their own comfort box for self-care to support them in stressful and difficult moments during the social distancing time. This is a hands on-based, creative workshop offering participants a room to explore their artistic abilities and give meaning to objects that will help anchor and ground their self-care.  

Writing for Self-Care

Creative Self-Care is intended for anyone interested in using creative writing for self-care. Through a series of guided writing prompts, workshop participants will be invited explore personal strengths and values, choice and desire, memories and healing. This is a process-based, self-reflective workshop—meaning there are no “right or wrong” ways to approach the exercises, and no pressure on the outcomes of the writing. Sharing is always optional.

Bring your preferred writing tools -- paper and pen or a laptop -- and a willingness to help create a confidential, supportive and safer environment.

This safer space for creative writing was facilitated by writer and creative facilitator Amber Dawn.  She is the author of four books and the editor of three anthologies. Her debut novel Sub Rosa (2010) won the Lambda Literary Award for Debut Lesbian Fiction and the Writers’ Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize. Her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir (2013) won the Vancouver Book Award. Her poetry collection Where the words end and my body begins (2015) was a finalist for BC Book Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Diving Inside: Relationship with Self

Self-care is a holistic approach to nurture your connection to self through mind, body and soul. Join us in this workshop to explore your inner-relationship through creative writing and crafting a relaxation salve as well as an energizing roll-on.

Through a variety of activities, you can expect to gain a deeper understanding of ways in which you may foster a healthier relationship to self.

Healthy Relationships: Our Way

In this creative expression workshop, we invite our bodies and our imaginations to bring into focus the ideas we have around navigating relationships with our peers, friends, loved ones and ultimately ourselves.

Through creative writing and guided movement improvisation, we will explore our inherited ideas around consent and boundaries that contribute to our vision of healthy relationships. We will identify the characteristics of the relationships that empower and lift our being, and hone in on the choices we can make that lead to mutual feelings of respect and empathy for others.

This safer space for creative writing and movement exploration was facilitated by Cost Salish storyteller Rosemary Georgeson (Sahtu-Dene) and dance artist Olivia C. Davies (Euro-Anishinaabe) and in an adaptation of the O.Dela Arts creative expression workshop, “Home: Our Way”.

Fostering Healthy Relationships in the Community

The goal of this workshop is to explore ways to build authentic, healthy relationships within your community and to break down barriers preventing us from connection. We will tap into our creativity and discover personal strategies that will foster resilience and connection with all of our relations. You will leave feeling empowered to use tools that you inherently possess to foster deep and meaningful connections.  

This safer space was co-facilitated by Erika Doehring and Adriana Contreras.

Erika Doehring is a proud Gwich’in granddaughter, an artist, poet and healer. She is constantly on the journey of discovering her culture and connecting to her story. She always danced to her own drum, and resisted conformity by following her heart. This is something that she brings to her style of facilitation, using authentic understanding and creativity to foster meaningful connections and discussions in space.

Adriana Contreras is a Visual Artist, Graphic Recorder, Designer, and an avid Arts advocate. In 1998, at the age of 15, she migrated with her family from Bogotá, Colombia to Vancouver,BC, the unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. Since then, she has worked and volunteered with Arts and Community organizations such as SFU Galleries, New Performance Works Society, SFU Woodard's Cultural Programs, The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, among others. In 2018 she was selected as one of two Community Scholars with the organization, Drawing Change.  

ARThrive Graphic Recordings

In November 2019, we invited Erika Doehring a proud Gwich’in granddaughter, an artist, poet, and healer to facilitate the November 19th ARTthrive session: Fostering Healthy Relationships in the Community

During the workshop process, Adriana Contreras, a Visual Artist, Graphic Recorder, Designer, and an avid Arts advocate recorded Erika’s knowledge about all the elements we need to consider to Fostering Healthy Relationships in the Community. At the end of the workshop student participants were invited to write down what makes up a community for them, and they gathered all their notes to create a collective poem reflected in the second graphic.

We are immensely thankful to Erika and Adriana for sharing their skills and wisdom at ARThrive, and leave us with these two graphic pieces to share with the SFU community.